45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviewsOnline Reviews Survey
The right local marketing strategy can help your business drive foot traffic and awareness in specific locations or regions.
But it involves more than just stuffing your pages and descriptions with location-specific keywords then calling it a day.
The best local marketing strategies and tactics take a targeted approach that efficiently converts the traffic being driven into sales, and which makes connection and engagement with the local audience seem effortless and more personalized.
Local Marketing Strategies: Why Have One?
In case you haven’t noticed, Google and other search engines are now constantly using searchers’ locations to serve up results for relevant local businesses.
So even when a consumer isn’t specifically looking for a business near them, or for a product at the local JC Penney, they’ll still see relevant local search results whenever applicable — and that’s regardless of whether they’re using desktops, laptops, phones, or tablets.
This trend of Google “hyper-localizing” information means that there’s a great opportunity for your business to distinguish yourself from the competition through a well-executed local marketing strategy.
Looking for ways to get started? Whether you’re running a small- or medium-sized business or managing an enterprise-level organization with multiple locations, here are local marketing strategies you can do at scale:
9 Local Marketing Strategies and Tactics
Make your website mobile-friendly
More people than ever are using mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to perform local searches.
In fact, according to the ReviewTrackers’ Local Search Report, most local searches are now being done on mobile devices (57 percent for phones + tablets, 42 percent for desktop).
It only makes sense that you therefore “mobilize” your website. Make sure it displays quickly, responsively, and seamlessly no matter the screen size of the device being used.
Claim your business on Google
Using the free Google My Business tool, you can create or claim and verify your business on Google, so that all of your correct business information is displayed across Google services like Search and Maps.
With Google being at the center of all local search activity, you want to make sure that your business is easily discoverable on the search engine, and that your business name, address, phone number, contact information, photos and videos, and reviews are all up-to-date.
According to research by Google, businesses with verified listings are two times more likely to be seen as reputable and trustworthy than those with unverified listings.
Claim your business listings on other sites
Don’t stop at planting your flags on Google; do the same across various digital properties where your business already has — or may benefit from having — online presence. Think online review sites, local business directories, online yellow pages, and social media sites.
Not only will claiming your business listings improve your local marketing performance (by way of associating your business with a specific geographic address and location); it will also help you be found more easily by potential customers who are using various sites to find great businesses.
Also, by claiming ownership of online channels where you have presence, you can more easily listen and respond to your most vocal customers.
Use your blog to publish local guides
If your business has a blog, it’s wise to write up a few posts that allow you to share your local knowledge and expertise, as well as establish your business as a local authority. For example:
- Ultimate Guide to Nightlife and Entertainment in (City/Town)
- The 10 Best Places to Grab Lunch in (City/Town)
- 5 Places to Stay When Visiting (City/Town) for the First Time
It’s okay to write your blog post or local guide even if it isn’t directly related to your product or service offering. The key is to raise awareness and send trust signals about your business to the local audience.
Create location pages
Location pages are like individual websites for each of your business locations. They allow you to create unique local content and leverage other sites within your business network.
Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes, and Fries provides a great example of how to set up location pages:
Here are some tips when creating your location pages:
- Add unique and relevant local content. Provide unique store descriptions, operating hours, an “About Us” section, local news, deals, and promotions, information about the team or staff, online reviews and testimonials specific to your business location, and other types of information that you think will be relevant to your page visitors.
- Choose a simple, effective URL. Let’s say your website URL is businessname.com. The URL of your location pages can be as simple as businessname.com/city.
- Ensure the presence of NAP. NAP stands for business Name, Address, and Phone number. This information must be present on each of your location pages and correspond to each individual business location.
- Embed a Google Map. This allows users and potential customers to immediately see where your business is located (relevant to where they are located) and get directions.
Showcase your online reviews
Reviews provide the kind of powerful social proof that inspires shopper confidence.
So if you’re consistently getting 5-star ratings and glowing reviews on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, don’t hesitate to show them off. As part of your local marketing strategy, share your best reviews on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles, or even on your blog. A review widget can help you embed positive reviews directly on your site (see below).
Remember: reviews written by customers can be more effective than loud sales messages or promotional brand content. Sharing your reviews online can also drown out the negative noise and make a positive impact on your local search visibility.
“Localize” your social media posts
If your business is active on social media, “localize” your posts by tagging your locations and geographic areas. You can also try including local keywords in your social media bios, hashtags, captions, comments, and posts.
Take part in local events, or sponsor one
One great way to stay top-of-mind with a local audience is to participate in local events and activities; if your company has the resources, you may even consider sponsoring one of these events.
If you’re targeting, say, two or three geographic areas for your local marketing strategy, all you have to do is check out the city or town’s calendar of local events and see if there’s any good sponsorship opportunities available.
Add a local element to your paid advertising campaigns
Running paid ad campaigns on Google or Facebook? A simple local marketing tactic is to “localize” the content of some of your ads by working a few local keywords or your city name into the copy.
You can even link to your own location page or Google business listing or add your phone number and business hours to strengthen the local search signals of your campaigns.
Related reading: How to Show Up in “Businesses Near Me” Local Searches